Tips/Ideas on how to make the perfect ceasar? The really kind with egg yolk,garlic and anchovies. Don't seem to be able to get one here in Rome where I live. Everyonce and awhile you run across one of those heavy creamy ones, but yuk pretty much.So I'll have to make for myself. My ideal ceasar is from Zuni in SF.
The original caesar salad didn't have anchovies but rather had worcestershire (sp?) sauce which has an anchovy flavor.
The way I make it is to take a wooden bowl and rub the inside all over with a cut clove of garlic. Then add romaine hearts to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss. Add the juice of one lemon and a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce and toss. Then break the egg on top and toss again. Then I sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and more cracked black pepper and add croutons. You can also make the dressing in the bowl with all the ingredients and whisk together before tossing the lettuce in the bowl with the dressing.
I'm curious about your statement that Caesar Cardini didn't "invent" the Caesar salad in his Tijuana restaurant. The story in JC's book seems pretty definitive, and Snopes repeats the claim. And of course the Cardini salad dressing folks agree (not that that counts for much). I'm not pretending to know for sure, but I always thought the Tijuana story was for real - it isn't??
While the most widely accepted story is that the Caesar was invented in Tijuana, I think of it as early California Cuisine. The salad itself has little to do with Mexican Cuisine... even when compared to the Italo-Mexican fusion cuisine developed by Italian immigrants in Ensenada... about 50 miles south of Tijuana.
I consider the Caesar to be a natural extension of the creative salad explosion going on in Hollywood / Beverly Hills at the time... which also led to the Cobb Salad and other now classic American salads. If you think about it, the Caesar Salad is also very disconnected from anything traditional in Italy, or Italo-America at that time... and is much more a mediterranean fusion with California salad ideas. Since, Tijuana was the playground of the Hollywood elite during Prohibition... it seems to be a slam dunk that it is much more likely the origin than Chicago... mecca of sausages & cured meats.
There is also the little, hard to ignore fact of the NAME.. its Caesar not Giacomo... that kind of seals the deal.
Now for Chow.... I just had my first taste of the commercially available Cardini's Caesar Salad dressing and really, really liked it. It had a pleasant, not heavy, emulsified texture and a complex yet delicate blend of flavors... that wasn't overly fishy.
With so many different versions and ideas about ceasar salad, you're bound to get a lot of ideas. A search on Epicurious.com yielded 43 hits!
Personally, I prefer a dressing thats garlicky, cheesey and salty. So, in that vein, here is the recipe I'm currently using: (this one also from epicrious.com. Note: I haven't made the croutons, only the dressing.
CAESAR SALAD WITH HERBED CROUTONS
"On a visit to Miami Beach, a friend suggested we try the Gaucho Room at Loews Miami Beach Hotel," writes Anthony M. Stephens of Concord, California. "I have had many versions of Caesar salad, but none compare to the one I ate there; the house-made herbed croutons and dressing were so fresh. Would chef Frank Randazzo share his recipe?"
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
8 anchovy fillets
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
For croutons and salad
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 3/4-inch-thick country bread slices, crusts cut off, bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups total)
12 cups coarsely torn hearts of romaine (about 9 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Combine 1/2 cup Parmesan, anchovies, lemon juice, 3 garlic cloves, and mustard in processor; blend well. With processor running, slowly add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Make croutons and salad:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary; saut until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add bread cubes to skillet with garlic-herb oil and toss to coat. Spread out bread cubes on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake just until croutons are golden, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Place romaine in large bowl. Add 2/3 cup dressing and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Add croutons and toss well. Serve, passing remaining dressing, Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper separately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Gaucho Room at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
Using a blender or proccesor will guarantee you a heavy, creamy result.
The best way is to make the caesar the classic way, in the bowl; I myself use my mortar and pestle. Retrieve any classic Caesar dressing recipe, even use the one above, but do it all by hand, where you can controll the consistency of your dressing.
First mash the garlic, anchovies and kosher salt into a paste.
Add the lemon juice, mustard, worchestershire, tasbasco, red pepper flakes. Whisk throughly; add egg yolks. Blend to a light yellow color.
Slowly drizzle your oil in while whisking. 1 egg yolk holds up to 4 oz of oil, more including any other base ingredients. MOre oil equals a thicker dressing. Finish with a generous handful of grated parmesean.
Here is my version. It is a favorite withn my family. all my children ask for it on their birthdays.
10-12 cups torn heart of romaine
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1-2 T Worchester sauce
1 large or 2 small lemons
2 coddled eggs(recipe below)
1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
homemade croutons(recipe below)
In bottom of sald bowl mash together anchovies,garlic,Worchester sauce. Whisk in olive oil. Add romaine,squeeze lemons over lettuce, crack eggs over lettuce. Lightly toss, making sure to well distribute all ingredients. Add cheese & croutons. Have extra whole anchovies available for anchovies lovers.
Coddled eggs- place eggs in cup, cover with hot tap water to bring to room temperature. Place eggs in boiling water for 30 seconds only. Immediately remove eggs and place in ice water to stop eggs from cooking.
Homemade croutons- 4 cups 3/4" brad cubes(I like to use sourdough bread). Dip bread cubes in olive oil, place on cookie sheet in 325 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes until crisp & golden.
Everybody here seem to have the basics on what it takes to make a good Caesar. There was a casual Italian restaurant near me here in Brooklyn that made a Caesar with all the above but I noticed some other taste coming through which really added a richness. I later discovered that it was a bit of mayo that they addded to the basic Caesar recipe. I since have seen "Best Ever" Caesar recipes which have included some mayo. I'm generally not big on trying to improve already great recipes but in this case I gotta say the mayo IS pretty good, if you don't add too much.
After years of making Caesar in a wooden bowl, I have found the texture is greatly improved by making the dressing in a food processor, plus it is very quick.
I take a little salt and pepper, 1 tsp of dried mustard powder, 2 garlic cloves, 4 anchovies, 1 tsp horseradish, couple of splashes of crystal or other good hot sauce, couple of splashes of worchestshire, about 1 T of red wine vinegar, about 1 T lemon juice, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil.
Put all the above in processor and process until garlic cloves have blended into dressing. Taste for seasoning and if more oil is needed.
Add 1 egg yolk with a tiny bit of the white, after holding it under hot water in slotted spoon for about a minute. Process some more (about 15 seconds).
Pour over romain torn into bite size pieces and add about 1/3 cup parmesan and a handful of croutons.
Cookric, The processer method works even better if you use a garlic press first and add the pressed garlic to the olive oil. Those of us that use anchovies add them at this stage too.
As to the croutons, my preferred method is to put 1/2 cup olive oil in a heavy duty pan, add 5 whole cloves of garlic. Saute` until garlic browns but doesn't blacken. Remove garlic, add whole pieces of stale french bread and fry both sides until just golden brown. Chop into crouton size and add warm croutons just before serving.
You might want to get the Zuni Cookbook at the library & see whether you'd like to own it (if that's possible in Rome--if not, it's available on Amazon starting around $16.95). If that's your ideal, you'll want to follow the steps in the book. My teenage son tried the Zuni recipe & was thrilled with the result; he's a big caesar fan.
I also think it makes a big difference if the lettuce is really crisp. I wash the romaine leaves, wrap them in paper towels, and leave them in the fridge until I make the salad. The salad is crisp and crunchy!